List of Spanish monarchs

This is a list of Spanish monarchs, that is, rulers of the country of Spain in the modern sense of the word. The forerunners of the monarchs of the Spanish throne were the following:

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These seven lineages were eventually united by the marriage of the Catholic Monarchs, Ferdinand II of Aragon (king of the Crown of Aragon) and Isabella I of Castile (queen of the Crown of Castile). Although their kingdoms continued to be separate, with their personal union they ruled them together as one dominion. Ferdinand also conquered the southern part of Navarre and annexed it to what was to become Spain. Isabella left her kingdom to her daughter Joanna of Castile. Ferdinand served as her regent during her insanity; though rebuffed by the Castilian nobility and replaced by Joanna's husband Philip the Handsome, he resumed his regency after Philip's death. In 1516, after Ferdinand II's death, his daughter Joanna inherited the kingdom of Aragon, but was kept prisoner at Tordesillas as insane. As Joanna's son, the future Holy Roman Emperor Charles V, did not want to be merely a regent, he was proclaimed king of Castile and Aragon jointly with his mother in Brussels. Subsequently, Castilian and Aragonese Cortes alleged oath to him as co-king with his mother. Upon her death, he became sole King of Castile and Aragon, and the thrones were thereafter united permanently.

House of Trastámara (1479–1555)

Under Isabella and Ferdinand, the royal dynasties of Castile and Aragon, their respective kingdoms, were united into a single line. Historiography of Spain generally treats this as the formation of the Kingdom of Spain, but in actuality, the two kingdoms continued for many centuries with their own separate institutions. It wasn't until the Nueva Planta decrees of the early 18th century that the two lands were formally merged into a single state.

NameLifespanReign startReign endNotesFamilyImage
Ferdinand V & II
  • the Catholic
  • Spanish: Fernando V & II
(1452-03-10)10 March 1452 – 23 January 1516(1516-01-23) (aged 63)15 January 1475
20 January 1479
26 November 1504
23 January 1516
Son of John II of Aragon and Juana EnríquezTrastámara
Isabella I
(1451-04-22)22 April 1451 – 26 November 1504(1504-11-26) (aged 53)11 December 1474
26 November 1504
Daughter of John II of Castile and Isabella of PortugalTrastámara
(1479-11-06)6 November 1479 – 12 April 1555(1555-04-12) (aged 75)26 November 1504
23 January 1516
12 April 1555Daughter of Isabella I of Castile and Ferdinand II of AragonTrastámara
Philip I
(1478-07-22)22 July 1478 – 25 September 1506(1506-09-25) (aged 28)27 June 1506
25 September 1506
Husband of Joanna of CastileHabsburg

House of Habsburg (1516–1700)

Under Joanna and then her son Charles I, the two thrones of Castile and Aragon were finally united under one monarch. Traditional numbering of monarchs follows the Castillian crown; i.e. after King Ferdinand (II of Aragon and V of Castile jure uxoris as husband of Queen of Castille Isabella I), the next Ferdinand was numbered VI. Likewise, Alfonso XII takes his number following that of Alfonso XI of Castile rather than that of Alfonso V of Aragon, the prior Spanish monarchs with that name.

NameLifespanReign startReign endNotesFamilyImage
Charles I
(1500-02-24)24 February 1500 – 21 September 1558(1558-09-21) (aged 58)14 March 151616 January 1556
Son of Joanna and Philip I of CastileHabsburg
Philip II
(1527-05-21)21 May 1527 – 13 September 1598(1598-09-13) (aged 71)16 January 155613 September 1598Son of Charles IHabsburg
Philip III
(1578-04-14)14 April 1578 – 31 March 1621(1621-03-31) (aged 42)13 September 159831 March 1621Son of Philip IIHabsburg
Philip IV
(1605-04-08)8 April 1605 – 17 September 1665(1665-09-17) (aged 60)31 March 162117 September 1665Son of Philip IIIHabsburg
Charles II
(1661-11-06)6 November 1661 – 1 November 1700(1700-11-01) (aged 38)17 September 16651 November 1700Son of Philip IVHabsburg

In the year 1700 Charles II died. His will named the 16-year-old Philip, the grandson of Charles's sister Maria Theresa of Spain, as his successor to the whole Spanish Empire.[1] Upon any possible refusal of the undivided Spanish possessions, the Crown of Spain would be offered next to Philip's younger brother Charles, Duke of Berry, or, next, to Archduke Charles of Austria.[2]

Both claimants, Philip and Charles, had a legal right to the Spanish throne because Philip's grandfather, King Louis XIV of France and Charles's father, Leopold I, Holy Roman Emperor, were sons of Charles's aunts, Anne and Maria Anna. Philip claimed primogeniture because Anne was older than Maria Anna. However, Philip IV had stipulated in his will the succession should pass to the Austrian Habsburg line, and the Austrian branch also claimed that Maria Theresa, Philip's grandmother, had renounced the Spanish throne for herself and her descendants as part of her marriage contract. This was countered by the French claim that it was on the basis of a dowry that had never been paid.[3]

After a long council meeting where the Dauphin spoke up in favour of his son's rights, it was agreed that Philip would ascend the throne.[4] Following this, the War of the Spanish Succession broke out and Archduke Charles was also proclaimed king of Spain, as Charles III, in opposition to Philip V. He was proclaimed in Vienna,[5] and also in Madrid in the years 1706 and 1710. Charles renounced his claims to the Spanish throne in the Treaty of Rastatt of 1714, but was allowed the continued use of the styles of a Spanish monarch for his lifetime. Philip ascended the Spanish throne but had to renounce his claim to the throne of France for himself and his descendants.[6]

Disputed claimant of the House of Habsburg

# Portrait Coat of arms Name Life Reign Titles Claim
6 Archduke Charles of Austria,
as Charles III
Archiduque Carlos, (Carlos III)
1 October 1685 – 20 October 1740 (aged 55) 12 September 1703 – 2 July 1715
  • King of Spain, Naples, Sicily and Sardinia
  • Duke of Milan
  • Sovereign of the Netherlands

House of Bourbon (1700–1808)

NameLifespanReign startReign endNotesFamilyImage
Philip V
(1683-12-19)19 December 1683 – 9 July 1746(1746-07-09) (aged 62)16 November 170014 January 1724
Great-grandson of Philip IVBourbon
Louis I
  • the Beloved and the Liberal
  • Spanish: Luis I
(1707-08-25)25 August 1707 – 31 August 1724(1724-08-31) (aged 17)14 January 172431 August 1724Son of Philip VBourbon
Philip V
(1683-12-19)19 December 1683 – 9 July 1746(1746-07-09) (aged 62)6 September 17249 July 1746Father of Louis IBourbon
Ferdinand VI
(1713-09-23)23 September 1713 – 10 August 1759(1759-08-10) (aged 45)9 July 174610 August 1759Son of Philip VBourbon
Charles III
  • the Enlightened and the King-Mayor
  • Spanish: Carlos III
(1716-01-20)20 January 1716 – 14 December 1788(1788-12-14) (aged 72)10 August 175914 December 1788Son of Philip VBourbon
Charles IV
(1748-11-11)11 November 1748 – 20 January 1819(1819-01-20) (aged 70)14 December 178819 March 1808
Son of Charles IIIBourbon
Ferdinand VII
  • the Desired and the Felon King
  • Spanish: Fernando VII
(1784-10-14)14 October 1784 – 29 September 1833(1833-09-29) (aged 48)19 March 18086 May 1808
Son of Charles IVBourbon

House of Bonaparte (1808–1813)

The only monarch from this dynasty was Joseph I, imposed by his brother Napoleon I of France after Charles IV and Ferdinand VII had abdicated. The title used by Joseph I was King of the Spains and the Indias, by the Grace of God and the Constitution of the State. He was also later given all of the titles of the previous kings. A government in opposition to the French was formed in Cádiz on 25 September 1808, which continued to recognize the imprisoned Ferdinand VII as king. This government was diplomatically recognized as the legitimate Spanish government by Britain and other countries at war with France.

NameLifespanReign startReign endNotesFamilyImage
Joseph I
  • the Intruder and Bottle Joe
  • Spanish: José I
(1768-01-07)7 January 1768 – 28 July 1844(1844-07-28) (aged 76)6 June 180811 December 1813
The older brother of Emperor NapoleonBonaparte

House of Bourbon (1813–1868)

Charles IV's eldest son was restored to the throne. Again the title used was king of Castile, Leon, Aragon,… by the Grace of God.

NameLifespanReign startReign endNotesFamilyImage
Ferdinand VII
  • the Desired and the Felon King
  • Spanish: Fernando VII
(1784-10-14)14 October 1784 – 29 September 1833(1833-09-29) (aged 48)11 December 181329 September 1833Son of Charles IVBourbon
Isabella II
  • the One with the Sad Destinies
  • Spanish: Isabel II
(1830-10-10)10 October 1830 – 10 April 1904(1904-04-10) (aged 73)29 September 183330 September 1868
Daughter of Ferdinand VIIBourbon

House of Savoy (1870–1873)

After the Spanish Revolution of 1868 deposed Isabella II, there was established a provisional government and a regency headed by Francisco Serrano y Domínguez from 8 October 1868 until 2 January 1871, while a new monarch was sought. Amadeo was elected as king and the new title used was King of Spain, by the Grace of God and will of the nation.

NameLifespanReign startReign endNotesFamilyImage
Amadeo I(1845-05-30)30 May 1845 – 18 January 1890(1890-01-18) (aged 44)16 November 187011 February 1873
Elected by Cortes Generales; Great-great-grandson of Charles IIISavoy

Spanish Republic (1873–1874)

Kingdom of Spain (1874–1931)

House of Bourbon (1874–1931)

Isabella II's eldest son was restored to the throne as she had abdicated in his favour in 1870. Constitutional King of Spain.

NameLifespanReign startReign endNotesFamilyImage
Alfonso XII
  • the Peacemaker
(1857-11-28)28 November 1857 – 25 November 1885(1885-11-25) (aged 27)29 December 187425 November 1885Son of Isabella IIBourbon
Alfonso XIII
  • the African
(1886-05-17)17 May 1886 – 28 February 1941(1941-02-28) (aged 54)17 May 188614 April 1931
Posthumous son of Alfonso XIIBourbon

Spanish Republic (1931–1939)

Spanish State (1936–1975)

On 1 October 1936 General Francisco Franco was proclaimed Leader of Spain (Spanish: Caudillo de España) in the parts of Spain controlled by the Nationalists (nacionales) after the Spanish Civil War broke out. At the end of the war on 1 April 1939 General Franco took control of the whole of Spain. In 1947, Franco proclaimed the restoration of the monarchy but did not allow the pretender, Juan, Count of Barcelona, to take the throne. In 1969, Franco declared that Juan Carlos, Prince of Spain, the Count of Barcelona's son, would be his successor. After Franco's death in 1975, Juan Carlos succeeded him as the King of Spain.

Kingdom of Spain (1975–present)

House of Bourbon (1975–present)

Alfonso XIII's claim descended (due to his two eldest sons' renunciations) to his third son, Juan of Bourbon, Count of Barcelona, who was passed over in favour of his eldest son, whose title is King of Spain. The Count of Barcelona formally renounced his claims in favour of his son in 1977, two years after Franco's death and Juan Carlos's accession.

Juan Carlos abdicated in favor of his son Felipe VI, who became King on 19 June 2014, with Felipe's older daughter, Leonor, next in succession.[7]

NameLifespanReign startReign endNotesFamilyImage
Juan Carlos I (1938-01-05) 5 January 193822 November 197518 June 2014
Grandson of Alfonso XIIIBourbon
Felipe VI (1968-01-30) 30 January 196819 June 2014IncumbentSon of Juan Carlos IBourbon

See also


  1. Juan Carlos I at first held the post of head of state as an interim measure, due to the illness of Franco, and again held that post from 30 October to 22 November 1975. On 22 November, two days after Franco's death. the Cortes proclaimed Juan Carlos king, restoring the monarchy after a 44-year break which had started 14 April 1931.


  1. Kamen, Henry. "Philip V of Spain: The King who Reigned Twice". Yale University Press, 2001. ISBN 0-300-08718-7 P6
  2. Kamen, Henry. "Philip V of Spain:: The King who Reigned Twice", p.6. Published by Yale University Press, 2001. ISBN 0-300-08718-7
  3. Durant, Will. "The Age of Louis XIV", p.699. Simon and Schuster, New York 1963.
  4. Kamen, Henry. "Philip V of Spain:: The King who Reigned Twice" Yale University Press, 2001. ISBN 0-300-08718-7 P158
  5. Chisholm, Hugh, ed. (1911). "Charles VI." . Encyclopædia Britannica. 5 (11th ed.). Cambridge University Press. p. 905.
  6. Kamen, Henry. "Philip V of Spain:: The King who Reigned Twice", p.158. Published by Yale University Press, 2001. ISBN 0-300-08718-7
  7. "Leonor becomes a crown princess". El Pais.
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